Former Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin has been officially appointed Speaker of Parliament.
In his first speech addressing the House, he pledged to facilitate good, free-flowing debate and to be impartial, fair and firm.
Mr Tan replaces for Speaker Halimah Yacob, who will be appointed the next President of Singapore this month, after she was the only PE2017 candidate approved by the Elections Department.
Mr Tan’s appointment has been widely viewed as a “demotion”.
He will no longer have the executive powers availed to him as a minister – the Speaker presides over the sittings of the House and enforces the rules prescribed in the Standing Orders of Parliament for the orderly conduct of parliamentary business.
Also, some have questioned if Mr Tan will be made to take a pay cut, as the Speaker’s annual salary is about half of that of a minister’s.
Nevertheless, Mr Tan has been lauded by the public for his non-partisan stance as an MP and minister.
Despite being a PAP member, the former minister was well-received even by opposition supporters.
He said today that the presence of Opposition MPs in the House is a “strength and positive step towards constructive contestation of ideas”.